By Melissa Martin
Continuing our series on Middle East news sites, below is a list of a few political blogs which combine current affairs and a healthy dose of independent analysis…
Shadi Hamid, The Atlantic
Hamid is one of the most frequently published Middle East researchers today, and he currently holds the post of Director of Research at the Brookings Doha Center. His personal page on The Atlantic' s website provides his research and analysis on current Arab political trends, including a recent emphasis on turmoil in Syria and Egypt. Hamid is also an avid Twitter user, and frequently engages followers in conversations related to his research.
Juan Cole, Informed Comment
Scholar and historian Juan Cole created Informed Comment in 2002. The blog is notable for successfully encompassing a broad range of topics, original content, and in-depth knowledge and evaluation. Many of the daily publications deal with topics relevant to the region, but not commonly discussed in popular news media. While Cole's articles are at times lengthy, they are filled with a mastery of subject area knowledge. To keep readers engaged, the author throws in pull-out quotes and frequent videos to liven things up.
Joshua Landis, Syria Comment
In addition to his role as professor and director for the Center of Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, Joshua Landis edits Syria Comment - a blog tracking all things Syria. With daily postings, Landis publishes reports and opinions from a variety of sources in an attempt to provide balanced coverage. Like Cole, Landis publishes original content with more in-depth analysis than most media outlets. This variety makes his blog an informative web stop for anyone looking for a deeper understanding of modern Syria.
Marc Lynch, Foreign Policy
The Anderson Cooper of Foreign Policy, Marc Lynch might be considered the brightest star of FP's Middle East coverage team. The charismatic writer manages to take a subject area as serious as MENA politics, throw in some Ivy-league analysis and generation Y-pleasing quirkiness (look no further than the headline "Haters gonna hate"), and produces a blog which is both on point with political happenings yet curiously entertaining to read.
Twitter: @ abuaardvark
This widely-read blog tracks the Middle East political scene, but is particularly known for its coverage and insight into post-revolutionary Egyptian politics. Its primary contributor is a freelance journalist and commentator named Issandr el Amrani who employs a saucy sarcasm - making the blog's content that much more compelling.
Middle East Posts
At the ripe age of 3, Middle East Posts has a format comparable to NPR. It’s modern, it’s easy to read, and it’s diverse. The site brings together political news from a variety of Middle East bloggers and analysts. The blog seems to take a particular interest in American influence in the region. It also pays particular attention to political news (not just assessment), and keeps close tab on politicians and their appearances.
This well-designed and regularly updated blog is another combined effort, produced by the Arab Studies Institute. The site is notable for its truly broad coverage of Middle Eastern politics, including the lesser-discussed North African states. It also includes audio content and a “Hot on Facebook” section which helps one track breaking political news. The blog posts in both Arabic and English for its readers.
The Iran Primer
This book turned blog is a product of the United States Institute of Peace. As an offshoot of journalist Robin Wright’s published compilation of Iranian analysis – including its politics, economy, military, and nuclear program – this project aims to track and the theocracy’s ongoing affairs. The site posts frequent articles, and is currently closely following the upcoming Iranian elections. The Primer not only provides news and commentary, but has a page dedicated specifically to interviews conducted by the team.
The Islamists Are Coming
Similar to The Iran Primer, this blog is an offshoot of a book edited by journalist Robin Wright at the U.S. Institute of Peace. The site focuses on Islamist movements in the Middle East, and its contributors include think tank and university experts from three continents. Every week, the site posts interviews, reports, analysis and profiles of major figures. The site is hosted by the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.